Lockheed, Harris battle for ERA supremacy

Lockheed Martin Corp. and Harris Corp. will compete during the next year to design a blueprint for the National Archives and Records Administration's Electronic Records Archives program, officials announced today.

Design awards for teams led by Lockheed's transportation and security solutions division and Harris' government communications systems division were announced at $9.5 million and $10.6 million, respectively. Federal officials hope that electronic archiving will extend beyond government to make it possible, for example, for doctors to quickly access health records.

Accessible to government officials and the public, the ERA will be a dynamic system for preserving virtually any electronic record.

NARA officials are supposed to have an operational archive based on one of the two teams' designs by 2007. They expect full development of NARA system to cost $500 million by its completion in 2011.

The difference between the companies' approaches is their planned architectures, said Kenneth Thibodeau, ERA program director.

Harris officials plan to use a vertical framework of hardware and operating systems that sit at the top three levels of the system, allowing for hardware and software changes, such as replacements for DVD technology. Lockheed's multiple, single-layer secure system will have front, middle and back sections.

"It's a different way of cutting the pie," Thibodeau said.

Users should expect an interface that will improve recordkeeping processes, he said. The entire system will be implemented in five increments.

Harris' team includes Booz, Allen Hamilton Inc., CACI International Inc. and Information Manufacturing Corp.

Sternstein is a freelance writer in Arlington, Va.

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